Homeschooling a year one student can be daunting.
I want to share what I have learned, and what I put into practice for my own children during the first year of homeschooling.
it is easy, practical, enjoyable and sustainable, all things that a new homeschooler might not consider.
Keep your curriculum simple.
the first year is about teaching your child the learning patterns that make up formal education and creating confidence within those patterns.
the formal learning that you begin in the first year is new and exploratory, and the first 3 months are more about learning how to learn in this new way, rather than really learning new information.
this means that the curriculum you choose shouldn’t be complex and busy.
you should aim for a curriculum that is simple, and that you can control.
by control I mean one where you have the power to take each lesson at your child’s pace, to be able to repeat lessons and take the time to master them.
this is why I use, an eclectic approach to my homeschool curriculum, it is simple, and everything I choose can be served to my child at their pace, and I know how much to give and how many times we need to repeat the lesson in order to master it.
I use flashcards, basic readers, and simple math skills in the first year. if you want to know what I use, read this post on my curriculum choices.
the first year is about learning how to learn and should be taken slowly with no illusions as to how much you will really get done.
the first year is for introducing, and learning how to teach your child, and while you may think this simple approach is not necessary, even for a bright child, this is an approach that you should take, to be able o fully immerse your child in learning for the years to come.
for us the first year is the beginning of the 12 school years, for them, it is. a changing childhood they need to adapt to
Don’t start your child too early
A young child learns through play, trying new things, lots of conversation, and watching others.
As you can expect, suddenly being placed at a table, with papers, and pencils, while you talk to them, telling them what they need to be learning is quite a shock for a child.
while this bland formal education for a 5-6-year-old is not what I recommend, (a year one student should not start at an age, but rather at a level of development, anywhere between 5 and 8)
the approach to counteract this can be to make things fun, to fill school time with extras that seem appealing to a young child.
this to me, is a waste of time.
I am busy, I have a large family and multiple children to teach each day.
my choice is to increase the time spent in “preschool” the natural social learning state of young children where they flourish naturally and wait until they are older to begin the formal learning process.
If you have restrictions on your flexibility when it comes to starting ages in your country or state, then I would use a curriculum like five in a row.
this is an all-in-one, curriculum based on using interesting books for children.
the mindset here, is for YOU to know, that this year, as their first year, is not what they need, and perhaps they aren’t ready to start the mastery of reading concepts, and the more in-depth concepts of maths, but you can spend this year, doing a relaxed, but covering the bases curriculum.
if I had restrictions this is what I would do, and then the next year, when my child is ready, I would start my normal eclectic and tailored approach to teaching reading and math.
Consistency is key to mastery
a child can have a different approach to learning, but ultimately at this age, and with this stage of learning, they learn through consistent repetition.
in order to be able to maintain the repetitive process that is needed for a child to master the foundational concepts that are reading and math (problem-solving), you need to minimize your daily workload.
how a minimal homeschooling approach gives your child the ability to be consistent, while not overwhelming
the reason why descaling your workload right down to bare bones is that the first year or two of homeschooling is about mastery of tiny concepts.
While these concepts may seem dull to teach, they are the building blocks to all learning for the rest of their life and this is why is important to wait until your child is ready to begin this process.
if they aren’t and you are busy making things fun in order to combat a bored child then this approach becomes very hard.
when a child is ready to take this on, this process is achievable and actually enjoyable.
it takes away planning stresses, as you have much less to do each day.
it means all your schoolwork is done in the morning.
and it means that you will master every concept, which will lead to confident self-learning from your children in no time.
there is no need to cram these basic but important concepts, such as reading, writing, and problem solving into a fun mix of (at this stage) unnecessary education merely for the time spent educating in order to make you feel like you are doing enough.
minimalist homeschooling is what I came up with when faced with this fact.
minimalism is the practice of having only what serves you.
In the case of homeschooling, minimalism is teaching only what serves your child.
stick to teaching the two foundational building blocks of concept learning.
prioritize building confidence.
A confident child when it comes to learning is one who is willing to try
you will find as time goes on, that your children have subjects they enjoy more than others.
this will aid confidence.
what I have found determines when you start these subjects and if the child is ready for them.
again, I know, starting ages.
I go on and on about them.
but I really think that as homeschoolers, not enough of us think outside the box.
now, there are for sure, some subjects that your child will never enjoy.
But I do think that often we dictate these by forcing our children to take them on by a grade age requirement, rather than them being ready.
imagine if your child could be confident in every subject if they were only having to start them when they were ready.
I have an 11-year-old who does not enjoy creative writing, he was also a late reader.
I started creative writing once he could read, thinking he was ready.
his dislike for the topic at first frustrated me.
then I realised that as a late reader, he hasn’t read very much yet.
how can someone enjoy creative writing when they have barely dipped their toenails into reading?
I told him to put it away, we will try again next year when he has a few titles under his belt.
yes, he will be doing work for a much younger student, but it won’t matter, mastery is the end result we should strive for, not consumerism, dressed up as learning.
this means pressing pause on a subject, for a time, the pause button is very powerful, and as a homeschooler, we should use it more, since tailoring a home education is what homeschooling is all about.
Set a high standard
I did this wrong when I started.
I thought, they are young, they are boys, let’s just take it easy.
don’t make my mistake.
set a high work ethic.
by that I mean, make sure numbers and letters are written correctly.
make them rub out poorly written words.
don’t allow slouching at the table, or getting up and down.
make keeping their one pencil and rubber for the year competition with a reward at the end of the school year.
setting the bar high isn’t going to make your child’s learning experience a drag.
it will better the atmosphere of your school time, and. you will have children who will need reminding every now and then, but who will overall have nicely written work and respect for school time.
this is just as much a learning experience in the first year of homeschooling your children as the education don’t overlook it.
year 1, set the bar high and don’t look back.